I may be doing something extremely stupid or very smart. Iím at the very end of my rope. My wife has been mentally ill for years now. She is bipolar with very severe physic problems. She hears voices, sees things that are not there, and cuts on herself. She needs help and she has been given 4 years of different drugs, 3 therapists, 6 physiatrist, pastor care (church) NAMI, AA group, and some more too.
She shows almost no affection for me. I love my wife dearly and I wish she could get better but, I my opinion she wants to be sick! By this, I mean that she does not or cannot put into practice the things her therapist tries to get her to do. (Coping skills are rarely used)
Should I file for divorce? Should I go on hoping that she might get better?
Some other facts: married for 19 years
One son age 16
Almost paid for home
Middle to upper income
Stable church life
Lots of fam support from my side of the fam (my dad keeps her for me while I work sometimes)
All ideas are needed because the last idea I have is shock therapy (divorce).
wow, whatever happened to "in sickness and in health"??
my hubby is leaving me after 22 years of marriage because he cannot deal w/ this disorder...i am not mentally ill, i have a disease! check w/ insurance companies...mine at least covers bipolar under the medical portion NOT the mental health portion...she has bipolar, she is not bipolar...all i can say is that this divorce has thrown my bipolar into high gear and it's more difficult now than ever....maybe a support group for you?? i dont mean to sound snippy but i know what its like to live w/in this disorder and what it feels like to be abandoned by the person i feel closest to...
Has your wife found a set of meds that work for her or help her at all? I know that once my husband found the right meds, he was a whole different person. Also, I just reread her symptoms, has she been diagnosed as bi-polar? Her seeing things, hearing things sounds more like schizophrenia, which would require a whole different set of medications. My husband also shows no emotions and it is very hard for me to deal with sometimes. I've come to realize that even tho he doesn't show it, he does love me and that is just how he is and actually doesn't even realize that he isn't being loving towards me. Unless she is on meds that are working she more than likely cannot help the fact that she isn't using the right coping skills. That would be a joke in my house if my hubby wasn't on his meds. Please understand that she really cannot help what she is doing, I really hope you get that part of it.
I understand how hard it is to deal with somebody who is bi-polar and/or schizophrenic. If the only reason you are wanting to divorce her is for shock therapy, don't do it. In my opinion, that is just going to make her worse. If you are wanting to divorce her because you truly just cannot deal with it anymore, then I understand. I can only speak for myself and dealing with my husband, but I don't believe that most bi-polar people understand how difficult it is for the other people in their lives. I sometimes feel like I am raising a 4th child, feel like I am the only one who can make a sane decision around here.
Please try to hang in there, check out the schizophrenia thing. Your wife could very well be bi-polar and schizo. I know if you can find the right meds that she would do better. Also, I cannot leave it up to my husband to take his meds. I have to give them to him every morning and night, if I'm not at home then my 12 yr old and my 10 yr old both know to make sure daddy has taken his medicine.
I agree with Christie s, Mudhound, it sounds more like schizophrenia to me. Maybe you should get a second opinion. My cousin died of it last year, my boyfriend's sister is schizophrenic, and my best friend's mother is in a nursing home because of it. The symptoms you describe are very similar to theirs. If your wife is schizophrenic, it is extremely important that she be on the right meds. They have some very successful medications out there now that control the symptoms.
I believe that you need to stick by her side. Society these days says if times are tough get the heck out of there. I dont believe that is truly the awnser...I think that u know that to being from a church background. Would you leave her if she was diagnosed with cancer?
I know that I am hard to deal with. I truly applaud the husbands and wifes, girlfriends and boyfriends and family members that are actually there for us. Were angry and crabby because we dont have controll of our mind...its scarey. I get mad at my self sometimes. Just try and take things lighter than you would from someone whos mind is "normal". I am sure your wife loves you with all her heart and leaving her is not whats best for you, the kids and especially her...go to family counseling, take her on weekend getaways...just do the best for both of you to compromise and communicate...I really hope the best, please keep us posted as to what decision you make. good luck...
I truly do love my wife. I also have conviction (sin) for my own thoughts of separating from her. Nineteen years is a long time to be faithful to one person. I only wish she could say the same thing.
Allow me to vent some. First, my wife is not only bipolar but also an alcoholic. She attends AA meetings and has been sober for one year now. That is a success! Also, our love life is severely affected be an affair she had around 3-5 years ago. She still cannot forgive herself for her actions. I have and rarely ever think about it. If I were just looking for a reason to put her away that would be the one. Itís the constant wear on my nerves from the depression that drives me up the wall. The maniaís are far and few but some times very sever. She shows nearly no affection for me and would rather sleep for 16 hours a day than go anywhere with me. I know that Iím not perfect but going to church, wal mart (exception maniaís), or to her own mothers house canít be that hard.
She is pitiful in a lot of ways. She is unable to drive now, she can hardly count money, and other social skills have decreased over time.
Thanks for everyones input so far. I still can learn from you. THANKS!
[This message has been edited by mudhound (edited 08-07-2003).]
This might be a long story, so please forgive me...
Like you, I am learning more and more from reading the wonderful posts in the forums. I had no idea what bipolar was until a little over a year ago. I am coming from your end of things, the spouse of someone who is bipolar. I can understand all the frustrations, difficulties and desire to leave.
I reached my breaking point last year, during my wife's period of depression, where I felt that I could not handle it anymore. I had my own health issues (heart attack at age 35) to deal with, and I could not devote attention to her like I had been. This resulted in my questioning whether our marriage was good for either of us. I needed an emotional connection at the time, and selfishly, when she could not provide it, I sought it out elsewhere over the internet (one huge mistake there!) Patience is a virtue and would have been the key...but I digress..
After all we went through, I suggested we separate because I honestly thought it was best. During the first few months of the time apart, I honestly felt relieved, like a burden was lifted off of me. My wife, however, had to suffer while I withdrew away from her, my affections, my feelings, my love. I went away to see relatives this summer and during that time, I realized how selfish I had been, how much I loved her, and how I had made her suffer through my withdrawal. I was not supportive, I failed. In the end, she fell out of love with me during that time.
The net result is that during our time apart, she discovered she no longer loved me. I had destroyed her love for me, and it was too late. Now, I am at a point in my life where I am healthy and willing to support her through the cycles, the ups, the downs, and be the loving husband. Yet unfortunately, she fell out of love me during my time of withdrawal and it is now too late to repair the damage. My wife is highly functional with bipolar, and I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of her for being that way...she is a beautiful, caring and loving woman... anyway...
My message to you, so that you don't mess up as terribly as I did (I failed): Always remember that the person on the other end is a precious, caring, and loving individual, with a beautiful heart that loves you, even though at times its not apparent. I realize now (too late) that a lot of what happens is not directly under their control, as you or I may understand it. I also encourage you to be there for her, talk with compassion to her through her difficult times, help her to achieve the best out of life that she can. For me, or for my relationship its too late. I carry that pain with me everyday. I don't want to see you make the same mistake that I did.
My best wishes to you mudhound, and my sincerest hope that you make the best choices for you and for your wife.
[This message has been edited by ubernier (edited 08-01-2003).]
[This message has been edited by ubernier (edited 08-01-2003).]
She is bipolar with very severe physic problems. She hears voices, sees things that are not there, She needs help and she has been given 4 years of different drugs, 3 therapists, 6 physiatrist, pastor care (church) NAMI, AA group, and some more too.
She shows almost no affection for me.
I am bipoar I. I to have gone thru the above(severe physic problems). Esp if I have been very manic for awhile. Our meds sometimes leave us emotionless so we can deal with life with less stresses. Unfortunatly our spouses get neglected emotional from us. She cannot help it. She diffently needs No alcohol, keep her in AA. Our meds and alcohol do not mix AT ALL!! It has been very tough for my husband also. He has learned over the years how to deal with me.(not so easy). His doc put him on Wellbutrin to help him deal with me and his stresses!! He said it helps alot. I could not survive without him. He is my blessing from the Lord. I also get sometimes where I cannot drive or function very well. It sounds to me that she has not found the right med combination for her. When I was at my worst like your wife is, I was diffently over medicated. Maybe a hospital stay to change her drugs and intense therapy might help. Somethimes the black hole is so deep but there can be light at the end of the tunnel. Ask God for strength and hang in there. 19 years is a long time. May God Bless You, Manicmary
you wife sounds like me but we have a 10 year old and a 13 year old. I would rather sleep than to do anything else sleep=escape for me. my daughter has too physically come and drag me out of bed some days. My husband does not understand bipolar but he stays. I know if he left I would give up on life my husband and kids are the only things that are keeping me alive. bipolar is a brain disease, I cannot control my mood and I have a very difficult time remembering things.
[This message has been edited by whiskey (edited 08-01-2003).]
Mudhound, I hope you can see that you aren't alone here. The spouses and family of the ones that are bi-polar have a very difficult time of it. I'm so sorry you are having such a difficult time right now. I truly understand how you can get pulled down by everything that is going on.
Do you go to her dr's visits with her? If not, start going, it's amazing what you can find out by insisting you sit in on her visits. If you feel that the dr she has now is not really helping, find another one. Keep looking until you find one that will listen to you and her. When I first started going to the dr with my husband, I realized he wasn't really telling what was going on with him. I know for a fact that he just didn't think he was that bad. When I sat and told the dr what was really happening, that is when they were able to get him on the correct meds. Call her dr and discuss the issue of schizophrenia with him.
Hang in there, mudhound. God will get you thru this, He never gives you more than you can handle. You feel free to vent here anytime you need to. Sometimes we just need to know that we aren't alone in this big world and somebody is behind us rooting us on.
Mudhound, i too understand how you feel. my mother is bi-polar. there are alot of ups and downs, having to find the right meds, not knowing what mood to expect, etc. it is very hard. the bad thing is, i am now seeing doctors and councelors because i too am bi polar. i never understood why my mom was like she was, and i was so head strong that she could change... but about 5 years ago i started with my severe symptoms. i never understood what they were or why i had no control over my thoughts or feelings.... i felt like i lost myself. simple things that should be nothing for me to do turned out being the hardest task i could think of. i am not married, but i have been with my boyfriend for 4 and a half years. for 3 and a half of those years everytime he felt like it was too much, he'd leave me, which only destroyed me more. the last time he left, he messed with another woman, which still destroys me. with me already feeling and thinking like i do, the added stress of him and his actions have become more than i can bare. i still love him, but i resent him, part of me hates him, sometimes i despise him. he never understood, and still doesn't really understand, but now he has more patience.... but he now knows there are ALOT of times i truely have no control over how i feel, think, act. i am on meds, but the hardest part is finding the right ones. i am in a violent stage right now, i have no patience, i am filled with hate, i am just angry. through my councelling they are helping me realize, its not so much "everyone else" that pulls this out of me, its me. i am angry with myself, i hate myself. simple things are extremely hard, i can't remember things from 5 minutes ago, i am going through this, and i still don't fully understand it. i've lost control of me, and thats just the worst feeling. its hard, its stressful, its painful, not just on those who love us, but on ourselves. we also deal with our changes, our emotions, our feelings, our mania. we deal with it more than anyone else, we never get a break from it, and it really is hard on us. every bi-polar goes through the same things, but different, if that makes any sense. i'm hoping this made some sense, sometimes i lose track of my point, this being one of those times. my only advice for you is to pray. God can pull us through anything. i will keep you in my prayers, and may God bless you and your family.
You made all the sense in the world to me--and I am the spouse of the bipolar. I think the spouses share something in common too. I know it must take alot of your strength to keep him in your life with all the leaving you and messing around. I am glad that he is learning new patience. It takes many of us a long time to understand what you experience (some of us figure out too late)
I hope that those feelings of anger subside, he keeps trying, and that you two can foster a wonderful relationship where he can be there to care for you when you need it.
I read this and thought about where I would be without the support of family and friends and it doesn't bear thinking about. My wife died some time ago so divorce is not an issue but I have had partners since and they have always stood by me and my illness was never an issue.
I have very serious and dangerous (suicidal) depressions with occasional mania and am diagnosed as bipolar. It is not true that voices and hallucinations always means schizophrenia, it is some time ago but that happened to me before I got help.
The ONLY way I am coping with that and other problems is with the HELP OF OTHERS.
I know that I have upset them and done really bad things along the way but they stick around and my friends in particular, many of whom I met in Hospital, are always there day or night if I need to talk. I hope I also help them when their times are bad, actually I know I do.
Your wife does not WANT to be ill, nobody does. Don't blame her for not applying coping strategies. I have studied and been taught many and have become an expert on CBT but when the mood hits you like a Tsunami of sh*te it means nothing.
Equally NEVER, NEVER, NEVER think that "shock tactics" will make the slightest difference (except make things worse for her). At my worst my son prepared to leave home and even that did not penetrate the totally emotion-less state that I could get into.
Fortunately I now have anti-depressants and mood stabilisers that work really well but it took a long time to get there I can tell you and there have been times when I lost faith (in medicine). The ONLY way I survived was with my network of family and friends. I'm comparatively well these days and hope that I put in more than I take out of this communion but things can change so easily.
I don't think you are stupid, I don't think you are particularly smart either. I say that because if divorce is the only way you can keep your own health and sanity and maybe your family intact then so be it but don't BLAME your wife's illness, that is a cop-out.
By all means feel hurt by her infidelity and if that is THE reason then admit it. If not then mental illness and alcoholism cause people to do the worst imaginable things and if you truly do forgive her then concentrate on making her believe that and reduce her guilt.
Before you leave make sure that you have done everything you can. I say that because it takes a long time to find the right medication (and medics) but if you get there the results are beyond belief. I say that not only from personal experience but also from seeing transformations in my friends. Actually I have surprised myself in putting this together (without spell-checker I must say), I really do feel good today. I bet if I hadn't admitted it you wouldn't know I had problems.
Also encourage her to develop friends who can empathise and be there when needed before you leave. You mentioned AA and that is a good place to start, does she have a "sponsor" ?? Remember the 12 step approach is not only for addiction, it is for dealing with a life that has become "unmanageable" and even without alcohol her's must feel like that right now.
Finally, if after all you hear divorce is the only way forward then DO IT. Don't just threaten it because that will make her life even worse, believe me.
Some other facts:
- married for 20 years
- One son at home age 17, 2 daughters age 24 & 26 (one has flown halfway round the world twice to help when things were really bad)
- Hate dogs, they cr*p on my garden
- Almost paid for home but then remortgaged to pay bills, may need to again with $20k+ of credit card outstanding
- Still upper income ($ six figures) but not sure for how much longer
- 0 cars, licence taken away for a while but I'm not sure I should drive with this medication even when feeling good.
- Lots of support from everyone, thank God
- (very) decent insurance but they pulled the plug on psychiatric treatment after spending circa $75k last year. I have some neurological problems that they are still paying for and my Consultants (3 off) can be really "creative" in billing but they are starting to question things again.
- Until recently very decent employer. Actually I shouldn't really fault them, they paid full pay for a year of absence while I looked after my wife 10 years ago and have done the same through my own absences. They still pay for 1 day a week absence for outpatient therapy.
The "bummer" is that now I am feeling pretty good they reckon I can handle being fired! Fortunately we have disability discrimination laws in the UK that make it a drawn out process but it will come in time. Life's a *****!
P.S. I just read another post and Christie S mentioned attending meetings along with your wife and I wish I had mentioned it. That is really important for several reasons:
- Mentally ill people believe that they are unique and nobody can understand, being there reinforces the fact that you are TRYING to understand.
- Bipolar usually means poor memory and attention span. We come away from meetings not remembering things so another memory helps a lot. If you can't attend then in the UK we have a free "advocacy" service that provides helpers for this very reason, do you have similar over there ??
- Mentally ill people often don't realise how ill they can be and "put a brave face" on things when confronted by medics. There have been times when I wished my Daughter had not come along (she nearly got me sectioned (committed) once by telling the truth!) but I wouldn't have got the right treatment without her.
- Some doctors exploit the lack of comprehension and cognition and it can be scarey if you are alone.
- I don't believe I have been addicted to alcohol (??) but I certainly abused it in the early days of my illness (it was a case of an overdose of alcohol or something much worse) and now I attend AA sporadically. I'm not sure it does me much good but when my partner comes along to an open meeting or Al-anon it sort of "resets" her understanding by listening to others experiences (not sure that makes sense but I (we) know what I mean)
- Even ill people have human rights and it does no harm for a competent person to remind the medics of that sometimes!
- I never cry in front of a medic but once outside I often need a shoulder.
If you are attending all meetings with your wife then I apologise, if not then at least try it before making your decision.
Oh, about sleep, you didn't say what medication your wife takes but many have that effect even if the illness doesn't. If it really is a problem then look for alternatives. The one coping strategy that has worked for me is control over sleep. I take additional medications only at weekend and accept that the weekdays can get rough. I slept 14 hours last night!!
I guess this might not be what you wanted to hear but I hope it helps. My thoughts are with you and your wife.
Above all keep on talking, reply if you want to talk more.
Brian, very nicely written post (without the help of spellcheck ). I didn't mean to imply that hearing voices and hallucinations always meant schiphrenia, just that it was something he might want to look into. Another avenue to explore since it doesn't seem that what the drs are doing for her is working at this time.
I found the following oxymoron pretty funny tho:
- Lots of support from everyone, thank God
christie, i noticed the same oxymoron...too funny...but i do have to agree with brians post....very well thought through and written...i hope anyone w/ a spouse who reads it will give his suggestions consideration....